How Dogs Damage Leather Couches And What To Do About It

by | Dog Care

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If you’re here, you probably want to know if dogs can damage leather couches.

Well, my mother has black leather couches that have had many different dogs on them, many times, for over two decades. Based on personal experience and research I can tell you that…

Dogs rarely damage a couch made from high-quality genuine leather, but there’s a small chance they might bite the leather or scratch the surface with their claws. The good news is that daily wear and tear is not usually obvious and can often be repaired, if necessary.

Knowing exactly what to look for in a leather couch and how to repair damage can make sharing a house with a dog much easier on everyone.

In this article, you’ll find out:

  • What a dog might do to a leather couch
  • Why leather is an excellent choice, even if you have dogs
  • Which leather to choose
  • How to prevent damage to a leather couch
  • How to mend dog scratches on a leather couch

What dogs do to leather couches

If you let your dog sit or lie on a leather couch, you may end up with:

  • Scratches or small tears in the leather, where the dog’s claws make contact with the material
  • Bite marks or torn leather if your dog likes to eat strange things or if you have a teething puppy that tries to soothe its gums on the leather
  • Dog hair on the couch, especially if your dog is molting or needs a haircut

There’s always a chance that dogs might damage a leather couch, but they usually don’t. The good news is that damage is the exception rather than the norm.

Why leather is a great option for a couch

Labrador puppy sitting on a leather couch

Leather is a very popular choice for a couch for dog owners because:

  • It’s strong, thick, and very resistant to scratches and punctures by dog claws. This is because leather is made from animal skin which, much like your skin, stretches and gives way under pressure rather than breaking or tearing.
  • It’s easy to clean.
  • It doesn’t attract and hold onto pet fur like other couch materials might.
  • Real leather is porous and lets air through it, which means it changes temperature depending on who’s sitting on it. A leather couch adjusts to become cooler or warmer for the human (or dog) sitting on it, which makes leather a comfortable seating option.

The best leathers for dog-friendly couches

The best leathers to choose for a couch that your dog will use are:

  • Full-grain or top-grain leather: Although more expensive, these are good choices for a couch in the long run. These leathers are robust, durable, and more likely to withstand the test of time. High-quality leather can last for up to 25 years, even with a lot of wear and tear. (source)
  • Distressed leather: This is leather that’s been artificially damaged and scraped, giving it an aged look. The finished product is very strong and hard-wearing, and because it’s been “distressed”, no one will notice superficial dog scratches on the couch.
Close-up photo of distressed leather couch as a good option for dog owners
See how the leather on this couch looks aged? That’s because this is distressed leather, which hides scratches and damage very well.

If you’re looking for a good distressed leather couch, here’s a popular one on Amazon.

My advice is to avoid recycled and bonded leather couches. These are more likely to show wear and tear from your pet scratching and playing on them, and they’re harder to repair than real leather.

How to prevent dog damage to a leather couch

Below are the best methods and products from Amazon to help you stop your dog from damaging a leather couch:

  • To prevent a dog from chewing or biting a leather couch, spray the couch with a bitter spray like this one. Whichever one you choose, make sure it’s non-toxic. If you’re trying a new product, spray it on a small patch of the leather that’s hidden and leave it for 24 hours. This will tell you if the product marks or damages the leather before you spray it all over the couch.
  • Some dogs that are put on a diet chew on leather because it feels like real meat in their mouth. If you have restricted your dog’s calories or put your dog on a bland diet, consider adding some real meat, good chew toys, or even offering a keto diet because your dog might be trying to tell you what it is lacking in its food.
  • You can try couch covers for leather furniture, to protect your couches from scratches and bites. These come in many colors and fabrics, even as leather slipcovers for a reupholstered look.
  • Groom your dog regularly, with brushing, nail trims and haircuts. This decreases the chance of the dog leaving fur on the couch or scratching the furniture as they jump up and down.
  • If your dog has destroyed furniture in the past, think about investing in professional training to teach your dog not to get onto the couch. A destructive dog is often a bored or anxious dog, and there’s a good chance the dog needs more attention, more walks, and/or more toys to play with or another dog to play with. A professional will be able to help you with all of this.

How to fix dog scratches on a leather couch

If a dog has scratched a leather couch, here’s how to fix it:

  1. Wipe the scratches with a leather scratch repair balm, like this healing balm from Amazon.
  2. Smooth the remainder of the balm with a chamois cloth, wiping in a clockwise motion.
  3. Apply leather moisturizer to the area, or even the entire couch. To make your own moisturizer, mix one part white vinegar with two parts linseed oil.
  4. Wipe off excess oil with a clean chamois cloth.

Your couch should look good as new!

I'm Monique. I love animals and everything about them. "Ayo" means happy, and this is where I share all I know about having happy, healthy pets so you can have happy pets too.

Ayo Pets participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the ShareASale affiliate program, and other affiliate programs. This means that if you buy a product or service through one of our links, we may receive a small commission from the sale for referring you. Thank you for your support!


Monique has had pets all her life and will have them for the rest of it.

She currently has 4 adopted fur kids.

Monique loves researching and sharing what she finds out about taking the best care of animals.

Ayo is an African word for ‘happy’, which is why this site is called Ayo Pets (Happy Pets).


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